Green-rumped Parrotlet

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Is the Green-rumped Parrotlet right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Common Parrotlet; Guiana Parrotlet

Scientific name: Forpus passerinus

The basics:
The Green-Rumped Parrotlet is often considered to be the most gentle and easy to handle of the parrotlet species. This tiny gem holds the giant spirit of a much larger parrot, but it isn't as challenging as the Pacific Parrotlet, which can become a tiny terror if not properly socialized. These playful little birds like to tease by hiding, so you must always supervise them thoughtfully, so that you always know where they are and don't crush them by accident.

This parrotlet is common and expanding in northeastern South America, and it has recently been introduced, with varying degrees of success, to a number of Caribbean islands. It is common to abundant in open or partly open habitats, so it probably benefits from deforestation and the expanding human population. Noisy and talkative, the species is often observed foraging widely in humid areas for food, especially seeding grasses, in flocks of up to 50 birds or so.

The Green-rumped Parrotlet is a tiny green parrot. Although adult males do not possess the blue rumps of other Forpus species, they are still easy to sex, since the males have deep blue touches on the wings that the females lack.

20 - 28 grams (0.7 - 1 oz.)

Average size:
12 centimeters (4.7 in.)

20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Green-Rumped Parrotlet is often considered a relatively shy, relatively timid bird – but please keep in mind that many individuals are only “shy” compared to its famous relative, the Pacific Parrotlet. Your pet must be handled with sensitivity, so that you don't unnecessarily frighten the bird by sticking your hands in the cage or introducing new toys too quickly, but don't be surprised if your little Green-Rump is capable of territorial behavior. While the bird is still young, patiently but firmly teach it to step up on a handheld perch and ride from its cage to a neutral play area. Choose toys with care, removing items like mirrors or bells that seem to provoke biting or anger. Green-Rumped Parrotlets are capable of being outgoing, loving pets who want to spend lots of time with you. Start young, train the bird every day, and protect your pet from unnecessary noise and stress, and you will likely be pleasantly surprised at the self-confidence of this tiny gem. Keep one bird as a pet, and focus your undivided attention on that Green-Rump. If you have a pair, the birds turn their attention to each other and lose interest in being your pet.

A pet Green-Rumped Parrotlet should have a powder-coated metal cage of at least 24”w x 18”d x 24”h with a ½ inch bar spacing. Provide a variety of perches from bird-safe wood. Be aware that even though they're small, they can be territorial. You need to have a play area away from the cage where you can remove the bird every day, so that you can play together on neutral territory. Some people have reported that toys like bells or mirrors in the cage could cause the Parrotlet to become angry or aggressive, so watch carefully for that if you choose to supply those toys at all. Train your bird to step up on command on a perch or stick, so that you can easily remove it from the cage without an argument. These little birds don't know their own size, so you must handle them gently, yet somewhat assertively, to prevent them from deciding to stay in the cage and become dictator of their tiny domain. You may also be able to prevent them from becoming aggressive simply by paying attention and keeping the wings neatly clipped.

Some Green-Rumped Parrotlets are conservative and dislike changes to the cage. There are reports of birds being afraid of new toys. If you observe this behavior, always introduce a new toy by placing it near but not inside the cage for a few days, where the bird can inspect it safely from a distance. When the toy is no longer viewed as a threat, then you can place it in the cage.

Like their larger South American relatives, the Green-Rumped Parrotlet requires a nutrient-rich, varied diet, and they cannot be expected to subsist on seed alone. In the wild, Green-Rumped Parrotlets are known to eat grass seeds, buds, flowers, cactus fruits, and berries, and a good diet could be based on a high quality pellet, a limited amount of seed, and a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. They may also enjoy healthy cooked food from time to time like whole grain rice, beans, and whole grain pasta. You might also consider a good commercial or home-created soak and cook diet. There are many healthy fruits and vegetables that can be fed including apples, grapes, garden vegetables such as spinach, watercress, field lettuce, dandelions, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, endive, and well-cooked sweet potatoes. However, never feed avocado or chocolate to any bird, including Parrotlets.

Written by Elaine Radford


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